Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis

Ali Smith

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis
  • Format
  • Publisher
  • Country
  • Published
  • Pages
  • ISBN

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis

Ali Smith

Anthea works at Pure, helping men with shaved heads think up brand names for water: call it Affluent, she suggests. Or Main Stream. She is not, truth be told, completely focused. Until she sees the boy up the ladder, spray-painting the company billboard: Water is a human right, she reads. Selling it is morally wrong.

The boy up the ladder, dressed in a kilt and sporran. A bright red tartan; a black waistcoat. Frilly cuffs. He is the most beautiful boy Anthea has ever seen in her life. No, look again. She is the most beautiful boy Anthea has ever seen in her life.

In Girl Meets Boy Ali Smith reinterprets the Myth of Iphis, the girl who became a boy, as a brilliant hybrid of satire and romantic comedy. This is a warm, funny, subversive romp through the murky hinterland of corporate perfidy by an author the Scotsman has described as ‘one of our greatest imaginative writers’.

Review

Ali Smith’s latest work radiates a sweet passion that is at once surprising and highly attractive. Refiguring the myth of Iphis and Ianthe from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Smith ponders the way our gender identities are created by others and by ourselves.

At the heart of this slim volume (and I do literally mean its heart, such is her presence) is Anthea, a charming misfit who has been looked after by her older sister, Imogen, since her mother left and her grandparents disappeared (on a whimsical boating trip). Imogen struggles to make Anthea conform to the rules of life as she sees them but Anthea is destined to meet, and fall in love with, Robin, the boy/girl who captures her heart.

The idea of gender identity as constructed, pliable and often restrictive runs through the book and is explored through other characters like the grandfather who tells stories about when he was a little girl and the anecdote about the girls’ father who is laughed at by the neighbours when he is hanging out the washing because it is woman’s work. This is a gorgeous story, full of hope and love, and Smith’s controlled yet cheeky tone is hard to resist.

Kabita Dhara is from Readings Carlton

This item is in-stock and will ship in 1-2 business days

Our stock data is updated overnight, and availability may change throughout the day for in-demand items. Please call the relevant shop for the most current stock information. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.